ESSAY: FINAL PROJECT Oral History Interview

Week 5 – Final Project
Oral History Interview
Throughout the course, you have explored various aspects of culture and intercultural communication. To learn more about other people’s cultures and subcultures, conduct an extensive oral history interview with a person who is somewhat older than you and from a different culture or subgroup from you. This person can be a relative or acquaintance who is from a different generation. It can be someone who immigrated to this country either recently or some time ago. Or, it can be someone who belongs to a different subgroup from you and whose cultural experiences you believe would be very different from your own. Obtain permission from the person you are interviewing to record the conversation (either an audio or video recording) or to take handwritten notes during the interview.
Your overarching goals during the oral history interview are
• To learn more about the culture and subcultures to which your interview subject belongs.
• To determine how their culture and gender have influenced the way they communicate with others.
• To discover what issues they have encountered in their life when engaging in intercultural communication.
• To relate concepts you have studied in this course to the experiences of this person.
When conducting the interview, ask the interviewee at least six questions from this list (in addition to at least three questions you create specifically for your interviewee):
• How far back in time can the person remember? What is your interviewee’s first childhood memory? (Consider how it reflects the interview subject’s culture or subculture?)
• What does the person remember of the experience of being an immigrant or a subgroup member in that time?
• Which impressions or experiences from that time are most vivid to your interviewee today?
• If your interviewee immigrated to this country, what was the country of origin like in terms of geography, government, transportation, economic system, and education system? If your interviewee was raised in this country, what were these aspects of life like during childhood?
• What does the person recall of the communication with members of the dominant culture? What barriers to effective communication did your interviewee encounter?
• In the United States today, what is different about your interviewee’s life in terms of language, religion, family customs, diet, recreation, and work, as compared to childhood?
• What role did the news media play in the interview subject’s life and in supporting or contesting the views of the interview subject’s culture? How did the media influence the subject’s individual beliefs and opinions about males and females, masculinity and femininity, and other aspects of gender belief systems and views about race and ethnicity? (Cite specific examples given to you regarding these two specific issues.)
• If your interview subject spoke a different native language, ask your interviewee to discuss differences between that language and English (consider the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis).
• What are some of the most significant differences in day-to-day life in the past versus today?
In addition, you must ask at least three original questions that are specifically tailored to the individual that you are interviewing. You should expect to spend at least 30 minutes interviewing your subject, but some interviews will go longer. Do not rush your interviewee! Give your subject the freedom to talk as long as possible in answering each of your questions.
As part of this assignment, submit a copy of your interview. The following options are acceptable ways of submitting a copy of your interview:
• Create a typed transcript of the interview and submit it as a separate document to Waypoint.
For your Final Project in this course, create a report of the oral history interview that you conducted. To create this report, review your recording of the interview and any notes you took during it, and write a 1,500- to 2,000-word paper (excluding the title and references pages), in which you discuss aspects of this person’s culture and/or subcultures and communication issues related to your interviewee’s cultural identity.
In your paper
• Define the concept of intercultural communication.
• Explain what can be learned about intercultural communication by conducting an oral interview.
• Identify the name of the person you interviewed and their relationship to you.
• Create a thesis statement that previews the conclusions you reached as a result of conducting this interview.
• Describe the interview subject’s cultural background and the culture and/or subcultures to which your subject belongs.
• Analyze the interview subject’s answers to each of the questions you asked during your interview to connect the concepts covered in this course (do not simply provide a transcript of the interview subject’s answers).
• Conclude what you learned about intercultural communication as a result of conducting this oral history interview.
Your paper should be written in paragraph form, not in a question and answer format. Thus, you must weave the information you present into a coherent narrative form, paraphrasing the information gleaned from the interview or using direct quotations from your interview subject, as appropriate. Your primary sources of information for this paper will be the interview subject. However, it is important that you also reference material you have studied in the text and other course resources to help support your analysis of your interview subject’s answers. Every chapter in the course text is potentially of relevance to the Final Project, depending on who you interview and what that person focuses on.
The Oral History Interview Final Project
• Must be at least 1,500 to 2000 words in length (not including title and references pages), double spaced, and formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center (Links to an external site.).
• Must include a separate title page with the following (see Sample APA Title Page (Links to an external site.)):
o Title of paper
o Student’s name
o Course name and number
o Instructor’s name
o Date submitted
• Must include an introductory paragraph (see Introductions and Conclusions (Links to an external site.)) with a succinct thesis statement (see Writing a Thesis Statement (Links to an external site.)).
• Must address the topic of the paper with critical thought.
• Must use at least six references (one may be the textbook); include additional resources found on the Ashford University Library website.
o The Scholarly, Peer Reviewed, and Other Credible Sources table offers additional guidance on appropriate source types. If you have questions about whether a specific source is appropriate for this assignment, please contact your instructor. Your instructor has the final say about the appropriateness of a specific source for a particular assignment.
o Be sure to integrate your research rather than simply inserting it (see Integrating Research (Links to an external site.)).
• Must include a conclusion that summarizes the main points and restates the thesis (see Introductions and Conclusions (Links to an external site.)).
• Must document all sources in text in APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center (see Citing Within Your Paper (Links to an external site.)).
• Must include a separate references page that is formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center (see Formatting Your References List (Links to an external site.)).
• Resource: Before you submit your written assignment, you are encouraged to review The Grammarly Guide: How to Set Up & Use Grammarly (Links to an external site.) tutorial, set up a Grammarly account (if you have not already done so), and use Grammarly to review a rough draft of your assignment. Then carefully review all issues identified by Grammarly and revise your work as needed.
Carefully review the Grading Rubric (Links to an external site.) for the criteria that will be used to evaluate your assignment.
Jandt, F. E. (2018). An introduction to intercultural communication: Identities in a global community (9th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Levine, K. (2007, July 31). Alter egos in a virtual world (Links to an external site.). Retrieved from
• An NPR broadcaster discusses the alternative personas that people create while playing online role-playing games and how these alter egos have an influence on their actual personalities. The information in this source will be especially useful in your Virtual Worlds, Nonverbal Communication, and Identity discussion this week.
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Budrina, I. (2011, August 8). Virtual multicultural teams: Real communication in the virtual world (Links to an external site.). Retrieved from
• This article provides a quick overview of how communication online and in virtual worlds may provide real benefits to work teams. You may find this article relevant to your Virtual Worlds, Nonverbal Communication, and Identity discussion this week.
Accessibility Statement does not exist.
Privacy Policy (Links to an external site.)
Olaniran, B. (2009). Discerning culture in e-learning and in the global workplace (Links to an external site.). Knowledge Management & E-Learning: An International Journal, 1(3), 180-195. Retrieved from
• This article reviews the role that culture plays in online learning communities. You may find this article relevant to your Virtual Worlds, Nonverbal Communication, and Identity discussion this week.



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Interviewee: Mrs. Stewart

Interview Setting: Mrs. Stewart’s living room.

Relationship with interviewee: Mrs. Stewart is a close friend of mine. She is also my best friend’s grandmother.

(Start of the Interview)

Interviewer: How far back in time can you remember?

Interviewee: My earliest memories probably have to be spending time with my grandparents. They came to the U.S. during the Irish immigration with their young children then aged 7, 6, and 4 years old. My mother was their youngest. At that time, Ireland was facing extreme hardships among them poverty and famine. My grandparents were not skilled and had to work as manual laborers. My grandfather was among those who built some of the country’s significant canals and roads.My siblings were always at their home. I remember how my Nana would prepare traditional Irish dishes during the weekends. Her tasty Irish stew and potato pancakes were my favorite.

Interviewer: What experience do you remember of being a descendant of immigrants at that time?

Interviewee: Most of the people I grew up knowing were immigrants just like myself. While the Native Americans lived in wealthy neighborhoods, we lived in poor and unfortunate conditions. At school, the Native American children would bully and make fun of our backgrounds and ethnicity. I found this habit very offensive. In my opinion, it is wrong to mock other people’s cultures.

Interviewer: Which experiences from that time are most vivid to till date?

Interviewee: For most of my childhood years, my family and I were ill-treated for being foreigners. One time, my siblings and I were scolded for talking in Irish in a candy store. We were offensively asked to speak in English since we were not in Ireland but America. Also, I found it hard engaging in conversations. I believe that non-natives should be welcomed and treated with kindness. Being foreigners does not make them lesser human beings.

Interviewer: Do you speak any foreign language?

Interviewee: I speak fluent Irish and American English. My Irish language skills were taught to me by parents and grandparents. They would sometimes talk and sing to us in Irish. Speaking two languages helps me in making decisions. It has also made me aware of cultural differences.

Interviewer: Did you have a favorite sibling?

Interviewee: Yes, Mary, our parent’s firstborn.  I was closer to Mary than I was with my brother. She was my best friend. We always cooked, washed dishes, and did laundry together. She was my greatest social support. She sadly died of cancer in 1988.  Her death changed my life completely. But I am glad to know that I did everything that I could to care for her.

Interviewer: How was your country of origin in terms of, government, economic systems, education, etc.?

Interviewee: I was born and raised years after the Irish immigration to America. My grandparents always told stories about our family’s and native country’s history. They were Catholic. Their main reasons for coming here were famine and religious persecutions.

Interviewer: What do you recall of the communication with members of the dominant culture?

Interviewee: When my grandparents first arrived here, they faced natural barriers to full participation in social and political affairs. Over time, they learned the English language. Unfortunately, we were sometimes ill-treated for our poor living conditions. I believe that this discrimination was rooted in the American’s anti-catholicism beliefs. We lived in segregated neighborhoods. The schools were non-inclusive and marginalized their students based on race and ethnicity. I was unable to communicate with children and individuals of the dominant culture.

Interviewer: What are some of the most significant differences in day-to-day life in the past versus today?

Interviewee: Then, it was hard for immigrants to find work. They were only allowed to work as manual laborers which the natives could not take. This is not the case today.  Immigrants can now find jobs that match their skills. Also, schools and neighborhoods are far more inclusive now. Foreigners and immigrants are no longer being alienated with hurtful rencounters….

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